Despite their matching 1-4 records, the Texans will head into this matchup as 10-point road underdogs. Despite the low 43.5 point total, the double-digit spread creates a strong possibility of a pass-happy game script for Houston’s offense.
Last week, Mills lit up the Patriots offense, going 21-29 for 312 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT in a narrow 25-22 loss. His quarterback rating was 141.7 and he became the first rookie in NFL history to finish a game with 300 yards, 3 TD and a quarterback rating over 140.0.
Oh, and he did that against noted rookie QB killer Bill Belichick.
Not only did this Colts pass defense get manhandled by Lamar Jackson for 442 yards and 4 TD last week, but they are most likely going to be dealing with numerous injuries this week, as they did in that game. Starting corner Rock Ya-Sin missed the last two games, starting safety Khari Willis is probably still not at 100% and both safety Andrew Sendejo and cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered concussions and are in league protocol. Safety Julian Blackmon was also knocked out of last week’s game temporarily, so this secondary is a complete mess right now from a health standpoint.
BetQL is projecting Mills to throw for 300 yards with 1 TD and 3 INT. The model is also expecting his wideout Brandin Cooks to have a big day, catching 5 passes for 90 yards.
After facing Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Jacoby Brissett and Lamar Jackson, Indy’s defense has allowed 15 passing touchdowns compared to just 3 interceptions en route to an NFL-worst 124.9 opposing quarterback rating.
The Colts have allowed 260.8 passing yards per game (20th), but looking deeper into the numbers, this is an extremely high-upside passing yardage matchup for the rookie quarterback, even if he's projected to throw 3 interceptions.
Indy has allowed a 73.2% completion percentage (30th), 8.5 yards per pass attempt (29th) and 11.6 yards per pass completion (25th). Further, 66.1% of the first downs they’ve allowed have come through the air. Teams have figured out how to limit Indy’s fearsome defensive line thus far, as indicated by the fact that they rank last in the NFL in QB pressures (25), 28th in QB hits (21) and 17th in sacks (10).
Texans head coach David Culley already announced that when veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is ready to return, he will retain the starting job.
The first-year head coach probably remembers his team’s 40-0 loss in a rainy, hostile Buffalo meeting back in Week 4. In that contest, Mills went 11-21 for 87 yards, 0 TD and 4 INT in an impossible situation.
Nonetheless, if Mills has another big week individually, Culley may face pressure to give the rookie more playing time in coming weeks if the team keeps losing. Since he was a 3rd Round pick, there was no guarantee that Mills would ever see the field (in the short term or long term) in Houston, but now that he flashed his potential, he has to back it up with a strong showing in this game.
The BetQL Model projects that he will, at least from a passing yardage perspective (and that’s all we care about when betting over 209.5).
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